Wednesday, May 27, 2015

5k: One Dollar Per Mile: 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL500 R129

The Mercedes-Benz SL500 was the middle child of the R129 family -- surrounded by the inline-6 powered SL300 and big brother V12 SL600.  When new someone shelled out a middle of the road $95,000 for this SL500, drove it for 85,000 miles and then donated it to charity.  Ironically, for a Mercedes of this vintage, paying $1/mile for depreciation ain't bad at all.  Find this 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL500 offered here on eBay currently bidding for $6,200 with located in Anaheim, CA. 

If you've got an old Mazda Protege that has $500 of back fees due to your DMV and no chance of passing your local smog/inspection ordinance, it makes a bunch of sense to donate it to a charity instead of sending it to the crusher.  You get a tax break and the charity gets some cash for your donation, but for some reason the owner of what looks like a well maintained SL500 decided he'd had enough and tossed the keys to a charity.  Good for him and good for the charity...and good for potential buyers, because the no reserve auction should result in a decent deal.


It might be hard to tell because this was the beginning of the era that covered the engine's important bits with silly plastic covers, but under the hood is a 5.0 liter V8 that puts out 302 horsepower into a 5-speed automatic transmission.


If the SL500 was good enough for Princess Diana (even though it wasn't good enough for the British public who bitched enough that she returned it and got another Jag) then it should be good enough for whomever has the chump change necessary to buy this one. 


See a better convertible for your cash? Send it here: tips@dailyturismo.com

17 comments:

  1. Gorgeous car. I'd try to get a personalized license plate that read "DPRC8TD".

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    1. +1, gonna have to steal that plate as an all time favorite. I still like TI 3VOM for states which require a front plate.

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  2. I've always thought these were the best looking of the SL's and having driven all three generations, provide the best cruiser/GT experience in the line.

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  3. Wow, a dollar a mile for depreciation. That is amazing. Over the years, I have even managed to have extended periods of zero depreciation in my fleet. Admittedly, I was not driving anything as notice-attracting as a Mercedes SL500. Like K2, I will continue to choose to do without....

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    1. As usual, your words ring true, B. But to play devil's advocate, I completely understand why someone would buy a car knowing full well that the running costs could be considered outrageous to some. I know I've certainly been guilty of that in the past. Sometimes you gotta just...live a little.

      I was having a discussion recently with someone on the dangers of soda, especially diet soda. The latter is just pure evil but the former is okay, in small amounts. Sometimes you just have a thirst for a root beer, Pepsi or whatever pop floats your boat. The costs are acceptable for the pleasure it brings.

      Cars are not that different, most times. That would explain why folks buy non-mainstream cars, I suppose. They know there's a greater potential for disaster but they do it anyway. I accepted those costs when I bought my Alfas and other cars of their ilk. It was a pleasant surprise when they turned out to be far better than I anticipated. But I get the draw; it's a good thing.

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    2. I agree that there are times when it is rational to accept high operating costs in return for other tangible or intangible benefits. But a lot of people just get drawn in by the marketing BS, and wind up driving expensive cars that they honestly do not even appreciate. If you plopped them into a debadged Kia, many of them would probably have a positive experience.

      Oh, and I fully agree about Diet vs regular soda, but let's not climb on that soap box here.

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    3. Excellent observation, B. Very, very true. It's fascinating how emotional people (me included) are about cars, often times blinding them to reality. But I still contend that the emotion is a good thing and adds spice to life.

      The thing about the soda debacle is that any constructive conversation about it quickly devolves into a conspiracy theory-level debate. Something so seemingly simple shouldn't be that scary.

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    4. What conspiracy? The fact that you called soda "pop" a few posts up when it is socially irresponsible to do so? We have some impressionable young minds here, K2. What's next, calling a bag a "sack"? Calling sneakers "tennis shoes"? Think of the children!

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    5. Ha! Just doing my civic duty....

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/YeWQraA.jpg?1[/img]

      How goes Poppahood, RyanM?

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    6. hahahaha. It's pretty magical so far, thanks! Definitely consumes all of that free time I had previously. It's cutting into my DT time! I suppose that's fine for now but if this kid doesn't start pulling his own weight soon, there's going to be trouble. Like, why doesn't he already have a job? Back in my day I was throwing hay and weeding turnips at his age... yeah something like that.

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  4. Two things I look for as a litmus test for snap judgements on how well a car has been loved----the condition of the driver's seat, and does it have nice tires (Michelins are ideal for passing this test). The driver's seat on this car passes the test, but the Sumitomo tires are a big red flag that a previous owner has taken the cheapest routes possible when it came to the care and maintenance of this car.

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    1. I use the "Used Car Tire Quality Rating System" (UCTQRS) as well. If a used car has good (meaning not cheap) tires on I feel like the chances are the previous owner wasn't a complete cheapskate and that genereal maintenance was likely taken care of in a manner that meant the owner was not planning on disposing of the car in the immediate future.

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    2. Hey don't knock Sumitomo's. That was the only high perf summer tire I could find in 185/70/14 for the Alfa off tire rack a while back. :-)

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  5. No chance of any deferred maintenance on this pup. ;-)

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  6. I couldn't pull off the "1990s was my hay day as a relator and now I just do to the golf course look" in order to drive this car

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    1. I should think a pickup would be more suited to a hay day than this boulevard cruiser :)

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